Review: The Last Stand

THE SETUP: A former bodybuilder, action movie star and governor of California decides to return to making movies after a decade off. Does he still got it? Oh right…the movie, not real life. A small town sheriff, who use to be a big deal in the big city, has his usual 9-5 blown to hell when an escaped convict makes a run for the border. Does he still got it?

THE THOUGHTS: (insert numerous and tired “I’ll be back” jokes here). If you don’t count the Expendables movies, and you shouldn’t, Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t headlined his own film in 10 years. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines for those playing at home. So, can Arnie pull off a physical, action role and still be relevant? Yes. Yes he can.

If you’re looking for Shakespeare, why are you watching a Schwarzenegger flick?  If you define a good action movie by cool explosions, great car chases, a few funny lines and a couple of “holy crap” moments…this is a good movie. Let’s not forget, Arnie is old. He can’t do the stunts like he used to, but he’s still throwing himself in there. The climactic fight scene proved that with some quick editing, he can still at least look like he’s kicking butt and taking names.

The acting? Well it’s not really why you go to this type of flick, and for good reason. Some of the dialogue was just painful, but you feel a little sense of forgiveness because of who’s delivering it. Cheesy one-liners is the house that Arnie built.  The rest of the cast is filled with Luiz “oh yeah, that guy” Guzman,  Johnny “you still act, if that’s what it’s called” Knoxville, Peter “call me if you want a bad guy” Stormare, a bunch actresses I’ve never seen before and Forest Whitaker. All there to have a good time, make Arnie look good and shoot people.

Unfortunately you do have to get through the set up, aka the first half of the movie, to get to the action goodness. But, it’s worth it. This movie would have easily fit right in with other 70s, 80s flicks like Raw Deal, Death Wish, Dirty Harry…that one guy (and a few supporters) with a lot of guns against unbeatable odds. Korean director Kim Ji-woon adds a few modern touches but he really sticks to the vintage vibe.

3 stars good movie, take a friend. For the genre, it’s pretty good. Certainly not great or original but definitely a fun, “blowed up real good” kinda time. When it comes to “good movies” there certainly are different types, this is of the action variety.

Random Recommendations
True Lies (1994) – This is around Arnold in his prime. His brand of action genre wasn’t quite tired yet, his humour was still charming and not forced (great buddy banter with Tom Arnold), the action was fantastic and fun; and the addition of Jamie Lee Curtis and Tia Carrere added the sexy. It’s a kick to see Schwarzenegger playing a secret agent trying to hide his true identity from his family. Still holds up.

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